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How Did Consciousness Arise

stubs
Posts: 1,887
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12/21/2012 10:58:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Here are just some quotes that I wanted to get some peoples opinions on.

"There is exactly one overriding question in contemporary philosophy....How do we fit in?...How can we square this self-conception of ourselves as mindful, meaning-creating, free, rational, etc., agents with a universe that consists entirely of mindless, meaningless, unfree, nonrational, brute physical particles?"
John R. Searle, Freedom and Neurobiology (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), 4.

Ned Block (naturalist philosopher): "We have no conception of our physical or functional nature that allows us to understand how it could explain our subjective experience . . . [I]n the case of consciousness we have nothing "zilch" worthy of being called a research programme, nor are there any substantive proposals about how to go about starting one. Researchers are stumped."
"Consciousness" in A Companion to the Philosophy of Mind, ed. Samuel Guttenplan (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 1994), 211.

John Searle (naturalist philosopher): "the leading problem in the biological sciences is the problem of explaining how neurobiological processes cause conscious experiences."
John Searle, "The Mystery of Consciousness: Part II," New York Review of Books (16 Nov. 1995), 61.

Jaegwon Kim (naturalist philosopher): "How could a series of physical events, little particles jostling against one another, electric current rushing to and fro . . . blossom into a conscious experience? . . . Why shouldn"t pain and itch be switched around? . . . Why should any experience emerge when these neurons fire?"
Jaegwon Kim, Philosophy of Mind (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996), 8.

Colin McGinn (naturalist philosopher): "We have a good idea of how the Big Bang led to the creation of stars and galaxies, principally by force of gravity. But we know of no comparable force that might explain how ever-expanding lumps of matter might have developed into conscious life."
Colin McGinn, The Mysterious Flame: Consciousness Minds in a Material World (New York: Basic Books, 1999), 13.

(Same as Above): "How is it possible for conscious states to depend upon brain states? How can technicolour phenomenology arise from soggy grey matter?. . . . How could the aggregation of millions of individually insentient neurons generate subjective awareness? We know that brains are the de facto causal basis of consciousness, but we have, it seems, no understanding of how this can be so. It strikes us as miraculous, eerie, even faintly comic."
Colin McGinn, The Problem of Consciousness (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1990), 10-11.

(Same As Above): "How can mere matter originate consciousness? How did evolution convert the water of biological tissue into the wine of consciousness? Consciousness seems like a radical novelty in the universe, not prefigured by the after-effects of the Big Bang; so how did it contrive to spring into being from what preceded it?"
Colin McGinn, The Mysterious Flame, 13-14.

Thomas H. Huxley (naturalist evolutionist): "I cannot conceive . . . how the phenomena of consciousness, as such and apart from the physical process by whey they are called into existence, are to be brought within the bounds of physical science."
Thomas H. Huxley,"Science and Morals" in Evolution and Ethics and Other Essays (New York: AMS Press, 1970 repr. ed. [1896)), 122.

J.B.S. Haldane (naturalist geneticist): "If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms."
J. B. S. Haldane, "When I am Dead," in Possible Worlds, ed. Carl A. Price (New Brunswick: Transaction, 2002), 209.
Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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12/21/2012 11:27:34 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
1) But how ?
2) You can't explain that
C) Therefore God

Your welcome.
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
FREEDO
Posts: 21,057
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12/21/2012 11:46:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Consciousness arises out of complexity. The specific manifestation of that complexity denotes that consciousnesses mode of confusion.
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord
Dogknox
Posts: 5,043
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12/22/2012 12:03:38 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Who said it.... "I think therefore I Am"!?

The brain is mostly "FAT", here is another thing to boggle the mind!
A bowl of "FAT" (brains) keeps us in motion, living, thinking, beings!

Dogknox
StreetLogician
Posts: 54
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12/22/2012 5:25:07 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 11:27:34 PM, Illegalcombatant wrote:
1) But how ?
2) You can't explain that
C) Therefore God

Your welcome.

Yet another pathetic god of the gaps argument.
StreetLogician
Posts: 54
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12/22/2012 5:27:54 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 11:46:06 PM, FREEDO wrote:
Consciousness arises out of complexity. The specific manifestation of that complexity denotes that consciousnesses mode of confusion.

How does the redness of red arise out of complexity? Complexity by itself only explains why we have not come up with an explanation already. Nothing more. It is the equivalent of "God did it for atheists".
FREEDO
Posts: 21,057
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12/22/2012 5:30:47 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/22/2012 5:27:54 AM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:46:06 PM, FREEDO wrote:
Consciousness arises out of complexity. The specific manifestation of that complexity denotes that consciousnesses mode of confusion.

How does the redness of red arise out of complexity? Complexity by itself only explains why we have not come up with an explanation already. Nothing more. It is the equivalent of "God did it for atheists".

Everyone either has a "God did it" or goes through life without any rooted concept of the world. I think the latter would actually be the case for myself. I just appreciate playing around with ideas.
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord
StreetLogician
Posts: 54
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12/22/2012 5:33:43 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/22/2012 5:30:47 AM, FREEDO wrote:
At 12/22/2012 5:27:54 AM, StreetLogician wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:46:06 PM, FREEDO wrote:
Consciousness arises out of complexity. The specific manifestation of that complexity denotes that consciousnesses mode of confusion.

How does the redness of red arise out of complexity? Complexity by itself only explains why we have not come up with an explanation already. Nothing more. It is the equivalent of "God did it for atheists".

Everyone either has a "God did it" or goes through life without any rooted concept of the world.

Hardly.
StreetLogician
Posts: 54
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12/22/2012 6:02:52 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Stubs,

I don't think the situation is as bleak as some have painted the picture. I think some progress has been made exposing dead end paths and I think some people have actually even proposed theories that look very promising. Even if the are wrong in the details, we are beginning to see what a theory of consciousness might look like. Here are some important steps along the way.

1. We must give the brain its due. It is the keeper of mental state and is responsible for our personalities. A person who undergoes a lobotomy looses that personality and many of the memories associated with it because brain tissue was removed.
2. Brain functions are not experiences, but we do experience brain functions. We are not aware of all processes in our brain. Think of the processing that keeps your heart beating, but all we are conscious of is brain functions, back to the poor lobotomite. What is it about those brain functions we are conscious of that is different?
3. How do we explain the unity of experience at any moment? Is the brain in any sense unified? Note to the Dennett crowd, I am not talking about access to information over time. I am talking about the experience at the moment.
4. Quantum Mechanics has mechanisms that can perform the unification.
5. Can we test whether the areas of the brain performing the functions we are aware of are unified by any of these quantum mechanical means? If so we would explain the content and unity of consciousness. That unity would be the experience of what it is to be a human being or some other type of creature such as a bat.
6. The evolutionary advantage of consciousness is its superior integration and processing of information leading to better and more timely responses to stimuli.

Henry Stapp has suggested a fascinating theory laid out in some detail in his book "Mindful Universe" He has papers on his web site that can be accessed for free. Many, if not all these papers are available for free at PhilPapers.org.
RationalMadman
Posts: 354
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12/22/2012 6:18:41 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I am the only conscious being. Stop trying to pretend you have one. Obey me, as a rightful slave of my matrix.
The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

We didn't fight our way to the top of the food chain to be f***ng vegetarians.
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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12/22/2012 6:54:24 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/22/2012 6:18:41 AM, RationalMadman wrote:
I am the only conscious being. Stop trying to pretend you have one. Obey me, as a rightful slave of my matrix.

Whether we obey you or not is up to you, not us. Why are you talking to your imagination?
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
stubs
Posts: 1,887
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12/22/2012 9:32:00 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I didn't even mean for this to be an argument for God. I just wanted discussion on the quotes. However, I do see this as an argument for "what is more probable, theism or naturalism?" debate. As even many naturalist point out that they just have no idea how this could arise from simply naturalistic explanations.
medic0506
Posts: 13,450
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12/22/2012 10:29:46 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
This is a very good question, and is ultimately the issue that made me start looking critically at evolution. I think the quotes that you posted are people being honest about the fact that we can't explain consciousness with any naturalistic process.

We know that consciousness is the result of brain function, but here is where I find the problem with it being a result of evolutionary processes. We know that organisms already had a means of information, and places where info was stored. That is the cell, and dna. So what would be the reason for a brain to evolve?? What selection pressures could be responsible for the evolution of the brain and it's functions?? Was it the result of a random mutation?? I find that a hard pill to swallow, since those random mutations can only act on the information that is already present in the genome.

For natural processes to be responsible, you would have to imagine that evolution has it's own intelligence and planning department. It would have to know that future organisms would be more complex, and would need an organ which can control involuntary functions such as respiration and cardiac function. It would have to design neurologic systems, and a centralized interpreter for all the information sent in that system. That interpreter (the brain) would have to be able to know an itch, from a painful stimulus such as a hot object. I could go on forever about things that the brain would have to know and interpret. Bottom line is that I don't see how you can even get to the formation of a brain, without attributing some intelligence and planning, to the process that brought it into being. Without the brain you can't have consciousness, without consciousness you can't have planning and intelligence. So you have a real chicken and egg problem.

Now anyone can posit consciousness by random chance, and in all honesty I probably can't disprove them, but in my opinion that person would really be pushing the limits of believability much much further than theists do when we say that an intelligent creator is responsible.
medic0506
Posts: 13,450
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12/22/2012 10:33:15 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Sorry Stubs, I didn't see that you didn't want a debate about God until after I posted. I didn't even mean for my post to be about God. I guess the issue just "evolved" in that direction due to selection pressure. :)
Dirty.Harry
Posts: 1,571
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12/22/2012 11:33:02 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/22/2012 9:32:00 AM, stubs wrote:
I didn't even mean for this to be an argument for God. I just wanted discussion on the quotes. However, I do see this as an argument for "what is more probable, theism or naturalism?" debate. As even many naturalist point out that they just have no idea how this could arise from simply naturalistic explanations.

This is indeed a fascinating aspect of reality and philosophy - we have no idea what consciousness is - what differentiates a conscious "system" from one that does not have consciousness.

I'm a fan of Roger Penrose's analysis (read The Emperor's New Mind) - in which he goes to some lengths to demonstrate that the human mind is capable of non-algorithmic operations and thus can never be emulated by an algorithmic system.

Personally I consider "spirit" as alluded to in the Bible to be the central means by which we experience consciousness - the spirit being a non-material mechanism.

Harry.
phantom
Posts: 6,774
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12/22/2012 11:43:53 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/21/2012 11:27:34 PM, Illegalcombatant wrote:
1) But how ?
2) You can't explain that
C) Therefore God

Your welcome.

Seriously. You use the God of the gaps fallacy way too much. A lot of people do actually.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
stubs
Posts: 1,887
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12/22/2012 11:44:12 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/22/2012 10:33:15 AM, medic0506 wrote:
Sorry Stubs, I didn't see that you didn't want a debate about God until after I posted. I didn't even mean for my post to be about God. I guess the issue just "evolved" in that direction due to selection pressure. :)

No it's cool man I just meant that I didn't post it to raise a "God of the gaps argument". I just raised it as a question to see if there was any naturalist answers. But posting it in the religion section I expected it to develop into what it has. I really enjoyed your post.
phantom
Posts: 6,774
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12/22/2012 11:44:36 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/22/2012 11:43:53 AM, phantom wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:27:34 PM, Illegalcombatant wrote:
1) But how ?
2) You can't explain that
C) Therefore God

Your welcome.

Seriously. You use the God of the gaps fallacy way too much. A lot of people do actually.

I mean you accuse people of committing it way too much.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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12/22/2012 2:23:01 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/22/2012 11:44:36 AM, phantom wrote:
At 12/22/2012 11:43:53 AM, phantom wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:27:34 PM, Illegalcombatant wrote:
1) But how ?
2) You can't explain that
C) Therefore God

Your welcome.

Seriously. You use the God of the gaps fallacy way too much. A lot of people do actually.

I mean you accuse people of committing it way too much.

It wasn't necessarily aimed at the OP, but the fact is, as soon as something is bought up, and we don't know know what is going on, it's all mysterious, I bet going through some one's head to make sense of it all is......"God did it".

Consider this a preemptive strike, its like the bush doctrine........for philosophy !!!

Ignorance, Incredulity and the desire to make sense of it all form an axis of evil, it goes by the name of God of the gaps.
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
Paradox_7
Posts: 1,870
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12/22/2012 2:51:25 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/22/2012 2:23:01 PM, Illegalcombatant wrote:
At 12/22/2012 11:44:36 AM, phantom wrote:
At 12/22/2012 11:43:53 AM, phantom wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:27:34 PM, Illegalcombatant wrote:
1) But how ?
2) You can't explain that
C) Therefore God

Your welcome.

Seriously. You use the God of the gaps fallacy way too much. A lot of people do actually.

I mean you accuse people of committing it way too much.

It wasn't necessarily aimed at the OP, but the fact is, as soon as something is bought up, and we don't know know what is going on, it's all mysterious, I bet going through some one's head to make sense of it all is......"God did it".

Consider this a preemptive strike, its like the bush doctrine........for philosophy !!!

Ignorance, Incredulity and the desire to make sense of it all form an axis of evil, it goes by the name of God of the gaps.


I personally don't understand the 'God of the gaps'. How is God ruled out, even when we understand how something works?
: At 10/23/2012 8:06:03 PM, tvellalott wrote:
: Don't be. The Catholic Church is ran by Darth Sidius for fvck sake. As far as I'm concerned, you're a bona fide member of the Sith.
Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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12/22/2012 2:52:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/22/2012 6:54:24 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/22/2012 6:18:41 AM, RationalMadman wrote:
I am the only conscious being. Stop trying to pretend you have one. Obey me, as a rightful slave of my matrix.

Whether we obey you or not is up to you, not us. Why are you talking to your imagination?

I am the only conscious being, therefore you two are the imaginary ones.
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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12/22/2012 2:56:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/22/2012 2:51:25 PM, Paradox_7 wrote:
At 12/22/2012 2:23:01 PM, Illegalcombatant wrote:
At 12/22/2012 11:44:36 AM, phantom wrote:
At 12/22/2012 11:43:53 AM, phantom wrote:
At 12/21/2012 11:27:34 PM, Illegalcombatant wrote:
1) But how ?
2) You can't explain that
C) Therefore God

Your welcome.

Seriously. You use the God of the gaps fallacy way too much. A lot of people do actually.

I mean you accuse people of committing it way too much.

It wasn't necessarily aimed at the OP, but the fact is, as soon as something is bought up, and we don't know know what is going on, it's all mysterious, I bet going through some one's head to make sense of it all is......"God did it".

Consider this a preemptive strike, its like the bush doctrine........for philosophy !!!

Ignorance, Incredulity and the desire to make sense of it all form an axis of evil, it goes by the name of God of the gaps.


I personally don't understand the 'God of the gaps'. How is God ruled out, even when we understand how something works?

The God of the Gaps doesn't in of its self rule out God, it's just showing how the belief in God or act of God was justified in the first place, fallaciously, through ignorance and incredulity and the desire to make sense of things.
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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12/22/2012 3:34:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
"We do not come into into this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean "waves," the Universe "peoples." Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total Universe."
-- Alan Watts

"We must see that consciousness is neither an isolated soul nor the mere function of a single nervous system, but of that totality of interrelated stars and galaxies which makes a nervous system possible."
-- Alan Watts
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
stubs
Posts: 1,887
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12/22/2012 5:26:41 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/22/2012 3:34:50 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
"We do not come into into this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean "waves," the Universe "peoples." Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total Universe."
-- Alan Watts

"We must see that consciousness is neither an isolated soul nor the mere function of a single nervous system, but of that totality of interrelated stars and galaxies which makes a nervous system possible."
-- Alan Watts

So now that we got through that, if anyone has anything that's actually helpful to this discussion go ahead and post it. hahah just kidding Geo. But really did anybody see the animations the creators of south park put to some of Alan Watts speeches?
s-anthony
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12/22/2012 6:50:31 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/22/2012 3:34:50 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
"We do not come into into this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean "waves," the Universe "peoples." Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total Universe."
-- Alan Watts

"We must see that consciousness is neither an isolated soul nor the mere function of a single nervous system, but of that totality of interrelated stars and galaxies which makes a nervous system possible."
-- Alan Watts

I absolutely love these quotes. Thanks for providing them.

It's amazing how most people see consciousness as an isolated event, as though it were born in a vacuum.